Tonight’s episode of “Bar Rescue,” creator Jon Taffer went to The Hammer in Las Vegas, Nev. on this episode titled, “Beer and Loathing in Las Vegas.”
Jon was called in by two classically trained chefs, Mitch and Chris, who are partners in the establishment, a local watering hole for blue-collar workers. When Mitch was in the hospital in 2011 with a severe case of pneumonia, that nearly killed him; he returned to find the place in disarray, the bills were not paid, his partner let him down and shattered their relationship. Chris reached out to Jon Taffer to help get the bar back to solvency and also to repair the relationship between he and Mitch.
Jon arrived with chef Nick Liberato to pep up the menu. Jon brought in Mike and Tom from Turbo-Tap to come in and check out the beer situation. They ordered Guinness, but it was poured incorrectly, and it was warm. The fries were fishy because they were cooked with the catfish. As Jon observed Chris, he was sitting on his ass blowing smoke on his customers, while Mitch was working in the kitchen.
As Jon spoke with the owners, he saw the animosity between the two. Mitch sees that Chris lies about a lot of things. Although they were both trained chefs, the kitchen was disgusting. Jon told them to clean the kitchen all night if necessary. The next day, the kitchen was immaculate.
Jon called the staff together. Many were not paid in a while, but Chris drinks all the time at the bar, while whooping it up with friends. The staff did not receive their W-2 forms because Chris owes them $1,000, and they will not release them. Jon pointed out that Chris drank over $1,000 worth of alcohol. Jon then brought in Adam Carmer, a professional craft beer maker to train the bar staff in time for that night’s stress test.
Chris was in the way of the bartenders, not a help to them. As they attempted to pour the proper beer as they were taught by Adam, while they waited for the beer to settle, he was taking the beer away to serve customers. Chris did not even know the proper names of the three beers that they featured; Guinness, Kilkenny and Smithwick’s. The customers were waiting for food and the beers that should have taken two minutes took over five minutes.
When Jon saw the meat in the kitchen was at too high a temperature, he ordered all thrown away. As Jon was in earshot, Chris told Mitch not to throw it away, and Jon went ballistic.
The next day, Chris announced that he sold a car that he had for over twenty years. He came in with back pay for all employees, a copy that he had paid the payroll company, and all checks would be given weekly. He also made up with Mitch and hoped to go forward and bury the past. This day was dedicated to training. Nick made some great dishes that were paired with their beers.
Jon also changed the name to Hammer & Ales and gave the place a new look for the passers-by who would see a new inviting establishment in which to stop. The interior was welcoming and an enjoyable place to be. The beer taps were replaced, and now they served beer at 35 degrees instead of warm beer.
Six weeks after Jon left; the “Bar Rescue” staff reported that drink sales were up 30%, food sales have increased 15% and for the first time in two years, Mitch invited Chris to his house for dinner.
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